New construction - get the zoned system?
So in my current 2800ft SFH I have a dual zone system that includes 2 completely seperate systems(one in the attic and one in the basement).
Now I'm looking to build a new home and found a builder and house we like. The house only comes with a single system(a/c + propane heat). When I asked the real estate agent for Stanley Homes he said they now design the house to work best with a 1 zone system...when I pressed him on it he didn't really seem like he knew what he was talking about. They do have an option for $2k where I can add multiple zones using baffles to the single system. My question is, is that going to hurt or help me? Aren't I going to be taking a system that is designed for say 3000 square feet and cutting it's airflow by 1/2. Is it going to work less efficiently than just letting it blow through the whole house?
Thanks for the help!
If I were building a 2 story home, I would want 2 systems. Or zoning IF DONE RIGHT. And you are right, cutting airflow in 1/2 is hard on the equipment. Duct system has to be done right, using 2 stage equipment is desirable as well along with a zone controller that can bring on just enough capacity for the areas that needed. Bryant/Carrier zoning is the best in residential. Arzel's new panel is great at capacity control as well. Jackson has dampers that bleed air into closed zones if duct pressure gets too high. So, IF DONE RIGHT, zoning is fine. Our office has 3 zones. We'd never be comfortable without zoning as diverse as the loads area.
I'm doing a second floor and finished attic project with one system 2 zone system, with variable speed blower and 2 speed condenser. All new ductwork, so oversizing the ducts will eliminate the need for a bypass damper - which is something I don't think is ever a good idea.
An answer without a question is meaningless.
Information without understanding is useless.
You can lead a horse to water............
IF it's 2 story, you want 2 systems or 2 zones. 2 systems is better overall. Since you have propane, you could just install a properly sized (for cooling) heat pump with straight electric heat upstairs, then a dual fuel system downstairs. IF you have propane, you'll want dual fuel as expensive as propane is. If it's well insulated and sealed and descent shade, depending on your climate, you should be 1.5 or 2 ton unit upstairs and a probably a 45k BTU furnace and 1.5 or 2 ton heat pump downstairs. Thre should be a load calculatoin down. IF you end up with begger units, you need more insulation or more shade. Unfortunately modern homes rarely have deep overhangs or built-in features that save energy.
Finally, I'd look hard at geothermal if you're on propane. You can install 2 seprate units on the same ground loop.
If I built a home on propane, I'd abolutely install geothermal. My preference would be water ot water geo with radiant floor heat and a hydronic fan coil for each zone/room for cooling. Then install a central ventilation system with dehumidifier for fresh air... since my home would be spray foam and very tight.
Thanks for the tips all. So I talked to them and apparently that's just a Stanley Martin thing. They only offer a single system for all their houses. If I get a loft in the attic they'll add a second unit but only for the loft not for the upstairs. I"m really discouraged because we love the location and house. What are my choices? It seems like me adding a second unit after the house is built is cost prohibative. I imagine the reducting and all that would be insane.
What about the zoning? Are there questions I should ask them to see if it's a well designed system that doesn't damage itself? I mean Stanley Martin mass produces houses so they don't do energy audits. My fears with the 2 zone system is I'll be damaging the units between the short cycling on the A/C(one zone shuts down and the other one turns on) and the restricted airflow.
I don't care so much about efficiency, but I can't stand being hot(upstairs) while I sleep.
Am I overreacting? Is there anything I can do?
The problem with the heat pump and geothermal is Stanley Martin doesn't offer it. So I'd be taking their HVAC and throwing it in the trash....
Spec builders suck. Too bad you cant get a credit and put your own system in. At minimum go 2 stage. Then go back and find a company that can retrofit zoning aferwards.
See if you can make a secondary deal on the side with the subcontractor so that at minimum, there are 2 main trunks you can dampers to later.
Or find another vuilder that cares about comfort as much as neat layouts and pretty countertops. Open concepts arent hard to do...just dont put up anh walls. . Moldern homes are so modular. Their shape is assymetrical and form follows function.
Sounds like fewer options translates to... most cusromers dont care and therefore its cheaper to not offer options. And 2 they have smaller margins on hvac and ultimaltly two hvac systems doesnt increase the homes value.
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Yeah, I agree, but Stanley Martin seems to be the worst!!! How can you have a 4000 square foot house with 1 Zone?!?
Originally Posted by motoguy128
When you say 2 stage system, is the whole system 2 stages, i.e. the A/C and Heat operate at two speeds or just the heat and blower fan?
Yes, the AC or heat pump and furnace would be 2 stage. That way on low stage the airflow requirements are lower so when only 1 zone is calling for heating ro cooling, it gets less airflow and won't be too noisy. Also, in mild weather even when all zones are calling it can run longer at a lower speed. The ideal heating system has outdoor reset and lower hte water temp in mild weather so the system run almost continously. Once heating option for a large home for example is a condensing boiler with an outdoor tmeprature sensor. Then you install multiple air handlers and AC units for cooling. But again, it is more expensive. You might have to trade a granite countertop for quartz to pay for it. OR cut the floor plan by 100sqft.
a 4000sqft luxury home... zoning, or 2 systems should be a requirement. You'll never get that home balanced unless it's 100% shaded in the wood and spray foamed, and the home has very high downstairs ceilings and a central hallway design and divided rooms. Actually, classical symmetrical central hall foursquares (google it in wiki) from the 1920's have a lot less tack effect by nature... as least I've found in my home. When you have a wide open floor plan, the warm air has a easy path upstairs.
Really, zoning shold be that big on deal in a large home like that. IF well insulated it would have a comparatively small system for the volume of the home. So its' jsut a matter of oversizing ductwork and registers slightly in each room, then adding a couple $$$ dampers plus a $$$ zone controller and wiring. I think a 20% price increase over a base system is reasonable. Comfort can be done without high end fancy equipment. A basic 2 zone controller, a properly sized system, even a builer grade single stage unit can work fine as long as it's properly sized or even very slightly undersized.